Working Against Odds
"Jeremy has probably an autistic spectrum disorder," said Sheila Barker, Jeremy's mother. "What you call a pervasive developmental disorder. A lot of his disorder involves social skills and communication skills. It's like he has to overcome the thought process before he can get the words out. It's like there's just a little waiting period there."
Jeremy sought help from Job Point's Wright City office.
"We developed a portfolio that included all of his awards from school, letters of recommendation. We developed a skills resume for him," said McGee.
"They helped me find a job, and send applications in, and I got this job," said Jeremy.
Jeremy's job is at Wee Ones, a maker of hair bows and accessories for upscale department stores.
"What Jeremy does is, he cuts all the ribbon and he puts in all of the flowers, all of the attachments and all of the adornments that we need. He puts it in bag. He kits it. He puts it in a bag and then we send it out the door to be made or it's made over on the production floor," said Liz Schlup, Jeremy's supervisor.
Jeremy signed on to work three days per week and vocational rehabilitation matched him with a job coach.
"Help him learn the job. Help him develop natural supports, who to listen to. Things like clocking in and the appropriate level of interaction with coworkers. Break times. Just basically, everything about employment," said Peggy Ottersbach, vocational rehabilitation senior counselor.
After a couple months, Jeremy's supervisor moved him to his own work station. He's worked here for about a year and now has an award of excellence to check off his list.
"I just feel like Jeremy has gone above and beyond. He just had a terrific attitude when applying for work and was just really engaged in his job search," said McGee. "He can do anything that any of these people can do. He can do but he just has to have his confidence built and I think it is. I don't ever hear him say anymore 'I cannot do this.' He'll say or, 'i don't think i can do it. I'll try to get it done.'"
Jeremy had the materials to get a job, he just needed help turning them into a bow.
"We're just incredibly proud. It's like when he graduated from high school," said Sheila. "He just manages to surprise us all the time."